Cornerstones Community Partnerships

Cornerstones Community Partnerships works with communities to restore historic structures, encourage traditional building practices, and affirm cultural values. Established in 1986,

Cornerstones Community Partnerships assists communities in the preservation of historic structures, promotes the use of centuries-old building practices, and supports the continuum of cultural values and heritage unique to this region. The work is carried out in partnership with Hispanic and Native American communities throughout New Mexico, neighboring southwestern states, and northern Mexico. Cornerstones' community-based approach fosters the involvement of youth; supports strong, unified communities; and helps ensure that cultural traditions and heritage are passed on to future generations.

The vernacular architecture of rural New Mexico and the southwestern United States is a community-built environment that is one of the most visible and powerful manifestations of the cultural values of its people. Traditional skills and building practices – passed down for centuries through family interdependence and intergenerational teaching – are increasingly in danger of being lost. In response to that need, Cornerstones began in 1986 as a program of the New Mexico Community Foundation called "Churches: Symbols of Community."

For the past 19 years, Cornerstones has assisted more than 300 rural Hispanic and Native American communities throughout New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Texas in the restoration of their historic and cultural structures as a means for the preservation of the rich cultural heritage unique to this region. More than 50 major restoration projects have been successfully completed. As their mission states: "Partnership with communities is the heart and soul of the work while mutual learning and respect is the core of its mission."

Cornerstones is designated as an official project of Save America's Treasures. In 1999, Former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Santa Fe and recognized the importance of Cornerstones' work as a grassroots organization dedicated to community-based historic preservation. New Mexico's historic adobe mission churches are a major Cornerstones Community Partnership project focus, and the restorations at Acoma Pueblo and Socorro Mission have been priority projects of Save America's Treasures.

      • Cornerstones' Acoma project was awarded a $400,000 federal Save America's Treasures challenge grant in 2001.
      • Cornerstones' Socorro Mission project was awarded a $200,000 federal Save America's Treasures challenge grant in 2005.
      • Cornerstones and its projects have received over $276,000 in private funds through Save America's Treasures at the National Trust.
      • Hubble House was selected in 2002 from over 1,200 projects by Save America's Treasures at the National Trust to participate as one of 12 sites featured in the "Restore America: A Salute to Preservation" partnership between HGTV, the National Trust, and Save America's Treasures. It also received a $75,000 grant for its participation in the program.